The Houston Texans are without a doubt a franchise on the rise. From their inception in 2000, leading up to last season which saw Houston make their first playoff appearance in franchise history, there are plenty of reasons to argue that Houston is on the verge of becoming one of the NFL's elite. But after Sunday night's primetime 42-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers, a game in which Houston looked heavily overmatched, the faith of many believers has been shaken. At the beginning of the season, many critics had Houston representing the AFC in the Super Bowl; have we overrated the Houston Texans?
2011 was a great year for the Houston Texans. With the addition of defenseive coordinator Wade Phillips and Wisconsin pass rusher extrordinaire J.J. Watt, Houston's improved defensive unit finished 2nd in the league in total defense, and finished 2nd in the league in rushing yards per game. 2012 got off to a great start as well as Houston opened up the season on a five-game win streak before their Sunday Night Football loss, but looking back, have yet to beat a team with a winning record.
The football world has suffered a major loss today. Steve Sabol, the genius behind NFL Films, died today at the age of 69 after an 18 month battle with brain cancer.
If nothing else, Sabol was a visionary. The way he looked at the sport and presented it to his viewers made it much more than just a game. Through Sabol's eyes, football was this majestic thing: a mixture of honor and pride, and just how far one man would go to prove he was better than the next.
Modern day gladiators.
As a young man who played football for 6 years of my life, I can stay without a doubt in my mind that had it not of been for Sabol's work, I would of never been inclined to pick up a helmet in the first place.
With no end in sight to the labor dispute between the NFL and its referees, new replacement officials will now be in place for the foreseeable future and no-one is happy about it.
Let me be clear: the job of an NFL referee is not an easy one. Diminutive men armed with not much more than a whistle stand side by side with modern-day gladiators as they attempt to rip each other to shreds for 3 hours and are asked to uphold the law.
But no-one is perfect; and mistakes are inevitably going to be made. As we wait for the strike to end, lets take a look back at some of the worst calls in NFL history.
Chargers vs. Broncos - Sept. 14, 2008
After 14 memorable seasons that saw four MVP's, numerous passing records broken, 2 Super Bowl appearances, and 1 championship, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts franchise found themselves at a crossroad.
Manning undoubtedly had the ability to play at a high level for at least another 3 years and his love for the game remained unchanged. However he was now 36-years-of-age, increasing in mileage, coming off of multiple neck surgeries, and with who many scouts proclaimed as one of the best quarterback prospects in years available in the fast approaching draft, keeping the aging Hall of Famer was seen as too much of a risk for owner Jim Irsay.
With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts officially closed the book on the Manning era by selecting Sanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck made his preseason debut today in a 38-3 win over the Saint Louis Rams and needless to say: Colts fans have every reason to look forward to another decade of good football.
Friday night the New York Jets kicked off their preseason against the Cincinnati Bengals. The game featured various story lines, such as Tim Tebow's highly anticipated debut at quarterback, fan's first look at Tony Sporano's new offensive system, as well as the Jets new 4-3 defensive scheme.
As expected both offenses initially sputtered out of the gate and had trouble sustaining drives, and the defenses took some time to settle into their assignments. There were pleasant surprises, issues that need to be addressed, and plenty to take away from the game when it was all said and done.
Pertaining to Mark Sanchez, he had a respectable night. He finished 4 of 6 for 21 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions, and 4 yards rushing. Although he only played the first quarter, Sanchez appeared to have a good control of the offense. New York was in and out of their huddles quickly and had no confusion in getting to where they needed to be. He was efficient going through his reads and was decisive, making sure he got the ball out of his hands quickly.